Paddy Roy Bates

Bates was born in Ealing, London in 1921. He went to Spain during their Civil War to fight for the International Brigade. During the Second World War he became an infantry major in the First Battalion Royal Fusiliers City of London Regiment. He served in the 8th India Division, seeing action in Africa, Italy, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Taken prisoner when his aircraft crashed on the island of Rhodes, he tried to escape but was captured by Greek Fascists . He was rescued from a firing squad by a passing German officer. In Italy Bates took part in the battle of Monte Cassino . Wounded several times, Bates survived malaria, sandfly fever, frostbite and snakebite. When a German stick grenade exploded, smashing his jaw and showering shrapnel in his face, he was told by an Army surgeon that he would never find a wife as he would be so badly disfigured. But as his wounds healed, Bates met Joan Collins, a former beauty queen from Essex, at a dance, and within three months they had married. He then became a fisherman before moving into pirate radio.

He set up a pirate radio station called BBMS on a Maunsell Sea Fort, a British Naval defence platform but it closed in 1966. He moved to another Maunsell Fort called Rough Towers, outside British waters, where he set up the Principality of Sealand and declared himself Prince Roy. There were battles with other pirate radio DJs and also Germans and Dutchmen. His son Michael eventually took over the running of the Principality and Paddy Roy Bates retired to live in England where he died in a care home in Leigh-on-Sea on 9th Oct 2012.

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